Understanding SEO, Content, and PR Metrics: Insights from the Google Leak

  • June 17, 2024
  • SEO
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Recent leaks from Google have underscored the significance of user engagement in their ranking algorithm, emphasizing the necessity of shaping audience behavior to improve SEO metrics such as ranking and organic visibility.

These revelations are not entirely new to me. I have been leveraging analogous measures for some time to assess the impact of cohesive PR and SEO campaigns. Although the concept of analyzing search behavior isn’t groundbreaking, Google’s leaks have certainly shone a spotlight on its criticality.

For sustainable growth in organic visibility and improved rankings, SEO strategies must adapt to include metrics that capture how effectively owned assets, marketing assets, and messaging can influence audience search behavior.

With Google’s overarching goal of ranking content that is genuinely beneficial to specific audience segments, this paradigm shift is crucial.

Therefore, SEO professionals should focus on evaluating website performance based on engagement-driven metrics, like Net Promoter Scores (NPS) of assets, idea adoption rates, and time to activation, which are vital for optimizing organic search visibility directly and indirectly.

Why Measure Influence

The recent Google leaks underscore the increasing importance of audience engagement in page rankings.

This information highlights the necessity of combining SEO, content creation, and public relations (PR), with a primary focus on influencing audience behavior.

Consider the following key points:

  • Google Emphasizes Engagement: The Google leaks suggest that significant weight is placed on user engagement metrics such as click data, repeat visitors, and site traffic. Although the information might be partial or outdated, it reflects Google’s use of user engagement as a ranking factor.
  • AI Integration into Algorithms: With increased AI integration in Google’s ranking systems, AI can interpret and utilize user engagement data to affect rankings.
  • Brand Search Impact: Traffic from brand searches can signify audience engagement and potentially impact organic visibility.

To boost audience engagement, we must expand our focus beyond traditional SEO activities such as link building, creating keyword-centric content, and technical SEO.

The future of search marketing lies in crafting strategies that actively influence audience search behavior.

Ideal Search Behavior Scenario

The modern audience’s journey is increasingly complex, as people utilize various sources to understand their problems, solutions, and opportunities. However, this scenario provides a simplified approach to conceptualizing your search strategy.

Scenario: You create a valuable asset, secure PR coverage, and the audience searches for that asset on Google. Initially, they may not find it using generic keywords, but later they search for it using your brand name. They continually return to your site seeking new assets or resources to solve their problems or seize new opportunities (using the original asset as a starting point or for your offering).

Simple Search Behavior Scenario Statement:

I need to create a content asset about [a problem or opportunity] to gain coverage about [an aspect of the asset] that spurs the audience’s interest, leading them to search for [categories or terms you own]. They will then take immediate action or revisit the site to solve a problem or harness an opportunity.

tailor this statement to align with your specific website goals, but the essence will steer you towards impactful measures.

This approach will help you concentrate on the more significant but challenging metrics to influence below.

With a background in product management and marketing, I have adapted these measures for product marketing, as they directly relate to audience actions.

Measure 1: Asset NPS

How likely is your audience to promote your content assets or ideas?

The NPS score gauges audience loyalty and satisfaction through a survey question: “How likely are you to recommend our content to a friend or colleague?”

Respondents provide a rating from 0-10, which falls into the following categories:

  • Promoters (9-10): Loyal and enthusiastic audience members who consistently promote your content or ideas to others.
  • Passives (7-8): Satisfied but not highly enthusiastic, willing to consider a competitor’s viewpoint.
  • Detractors (0-6): Unhappy audience members who speak negatively about your content.

A high NPS indicates strong audience engagement, which can enhance engagement and indirectly influence organic visibility.

To gather this data, you typically need to survey your audience. Utilize tools like Google Forms, Survey Monkey, or any survey tool with a rating scale to collect responses.

Pro tip: Survey your website visitors, social media followers, or email subscribers. Build an email list from audience submissions on your site or via a newsletter.

Measure 2: Idea Adoption Rate

Does your audience adopt your ideas?

The idea adoption rate measures the percentage of the audience segment that begins using an idea after you launch the related asset.

This metric is crucial for understanding audience acceptance of a particular idea, offering insights into engagement and market fit, potentially influencing ranking signals.

Here’s How To Calculate:


  • Audience Segment Size: The number of individuals in your audience segment.
  • Audience Usage Size: The number of individuals who use the ideas in your content.
Formula: Adoption rate = (Audience Usage Size / Audience Segment Size) X 100%

There are various ways to collect this data, but shares are not always an accurate metric of influence. Look for discussions or actions taken as a result of your ideas or content:

  • Is your audience discussing your ideas on LinkedIn, Twitter (X), or relevant social platforms?
  • Are newsletters covering your ideas or their essence?
  • Are the steps of your processes being discussed?
  • Do people share videos implementing your ideas or using your product?

Pro tip: If people “steal” your original idea, it’s often a sign of adoption, indicating that the idea addresses a significant problem or opportunity.

Measure 3: Time To Activation

How long does it take for your audience to take action on your site?

Time to activation measures the duration from when your audience engages with your content to when they take an action on your site, such as searching for a topic, downloading a document, contacting for a quote, or requesting a demo.

This metric reveals how well your content aligns with the audience’s journey and needs. Shorter activation times suggest stronger content alignment and higher efficacy.

How To Measure:

  • Identify an activation point (e.g., desired audience actions or goals on your site).
  • Estimate the number of people who read or engage with your content.
  • Measure how many people take action around specific events on the site.

Pro tip: Some marketers argue against measuring program success due to issues with attribution modeling or the time required for SEO. However, measuring time to activation accentuates the importance of evaluating on-site actions driven by the campaign. Design campaigns targeting an activation time of less than three months for individual events, six months for larger goals, and twelve months for significant business impacts, such as creating new market categories.

As your audience activates, brand search will likely increase, driving further searches for your topic on Google.

Measure 4: Brand Search Volume

Does your audience search for your brand in search engines?

Brand searches refer to the frequency of user searches for specific terms you branded or own in search engines.

Track this metric using Google Search Console, by monitoring searches for your brand name or specific terms.

Pro tip: Brand keywords are reported in Google Analytics as part of general search engine data, mixed with non-brand keywords. Look for short-term spikes or consistent trends in Google Search Console. Segment the data (e.g., by page, query, date, brand-modified terms) to assess impact. Design your strategy with measurable brand search impact in mind.

Impact On Your Strategy

Integrating SEO and PR strategies to influence audience behavior and engagement is crucial for maximizing organic visibility and search rankings.

Google’s recent leaks highlight the importance of audience engagement, stressing the need for cohesion among content creation, SEO, and PR to drive meaningful interactions.

Metrics such as asset NPS, idea adoption rate, and time to activation yield valuable insights into audience loyalty, idea adoption, and action timing.

These metrics are essential for enhancing engagement and potentially influencing search engine rankings, underscoring the importance of engaging with your audience.

These engagement-driven metrics will enable you to stay ahead of Google’s evolving algorithms and ensure your content resonates with your target audience.

Begin developing integrated PR and SEO strategies today.

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Featured Image: Yurii_Yarema/Shutterstock

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